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HomeBafana BafanaPablo On Mothwa Drop & Mbanjwa Call-Up

Pablo On Mothwa Drop & Mbanjwa Call-Up

AmaZulu coach Pablo Franco Martin says though he is a little bit surprised and sad that Veli Mothwa is not in the recently announced Bafana Bafana squad, he understands where Hugo Broos is coming from.

The Bafana coach named the squad to play in the FIFA series international friendlies in Algeria this month, with Mothwa, who was with the team at the 2023 African Cup of Nations, being replaced by Kaizer Chiefs’ Bruce Bvuma among the keepers in the squad.

Though he did not play at the tournament he was hailed for his influence and support off the pitch and in the dressing room.

The Spaniard says Broos knows what is he is doing is best for the team having brought some success in a long time. Martin believes the drop has nothing to do with Mothwa’s abilities as a goalkeeper and that he is confident the former Baroka FC man will be back in the national team.

“I have to have a lot of respect for my colleague Hugo Broos, especially after he has shown what he is capable of in the national team,” Martin said to the media in Polokwane.

“They were really successful. What he decides is for Bafana Bafana, I’m so sure of that but of course as a coach I always want my players to have the opportunity to go.

“And I think Veli deserves to go in terms of the performance he had when he went AFCON because, sometimes players don’t only perform on the pitch but off the pitch.

“I think he was one of the key players in that success and his role was basic and you as journalists recognised that in the media, which I really appreciated and I already talked about that.

“And especially because he played the other day in the league and you can see his performance against SuperSport was top.

“So I have been a little bit surprised, I’m a little bit sad but I know that he’s going to be back, I’m 100% sure of that.

“You can see that there are some changes in that list and probably the coach wants to give opportunities to some other players but when he goes to name his main squad I’m sure that he is going to call him.”

South Africa goalkeepers Ricardo Goss and Veli Mothwa celebrate Ecobank Best Goalkeeper Ronwen Williams during the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations final match between Nigeria and Cote dIvoire at Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan, Cote dIvoire on 11 February ©Achille Ndomo Tsanga/BackpagePix

Martin went on to congratulate Mlondi Mbanjwa who made the squad for the first time. The 25-year-old was in the pre-liminary squad with teammate Tshepang Moremi though the latter didn’t make the final cut.

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“Mbanjwa for us is a huge success,” he added.

“I cannot tell you exactly but I think if that happens, apart from COSAFA tournament, I think for this kind of games, a few times in AmaZulu in the PSL in recent history, I think no one time an AmaZulu player, an infield player went to the national team.

“So that in itself speaks of the great job we are doing but not only that many of our players and I think this season it’s the ninth or 10th time that in the prelims they are calling our players.

“I think this is something that didn’t happen before with AmaZulu players. I think as we talked before it’s a signal that we are adding value to this club to these players and we are really happy to see that the national team is seeing that as well.

“Mbanjwa is representing us but I don’t want to be unfair because many of our players are growing a lot and I think many of them are going to have the opportunity, if they keep growing the same way they did in the first part of the season, now in the second half of the season to be with Bafana Bafana soon.”

“Mbanjwa is an inspiration for the rest of the players, for the ones, who are really willing to go and play for the national team because they are realising that it’s possible.

“And with the improvement they are doing I’m sure that the head coach is going to keep paying attention to them and finally give them a chance.”   

Lethabo Kganyago
Lethabo Kganyago
Lethabo Kganyago is currently working as a web and newspaper writer for iDiski Times. This award-winning sports journalist covers the Limpopo area and also specialises in coverage of women's football, including Banayana Banyana.